In the 18th century

Who was Voltaire

Voltaire was arguably the most influential philosopher during the enlightenment period. He was born in 1694 and died in 1778. He was a deist, which is the belief that there is one God who acts as a clock maker. He mad the world then left and let it run. Voltaire was very influential on the French Revolution and many of the Enlightened rulers. He believed that every monarch should be Enlightened Despotism. He hated injustice, bigotry, and intolerance.

Enlightened Despotism

Voltaire believed that all monarchs should have an enlightened view on society and how they ruled. This was called Enlightened Despotism. Monarchs should strive for educational reform, and always put the people first. Serfdom should be abolished and torture restricted. Expressed that society should always progress, and that reason is more important than faith. Voltaire influenced many of the great monarchs during this time period, such as: Catherine the great of Russia, Fredrick the 2nd (or great) of Prussia, joseph the 2nd of Austria, and Napoleon Bonaparte of France.


One of his most known works is Candide. In Candide he wrote about an illegitimate nephew to a German Baron. The nephew, or Candide, grows up with his uncle and while doing so gets to see all of the faults and injustice in society. This book supports Voltaire's negative views on racism, sexism, and any other injustice. Many nobles disliked the book because it expressed destruction of serfdom and more freedom to peasents.
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Work cited

Kagan, Donald, Steven E. Ozment, Frank M. Turner, and Perry McAdow. Rogers. The Western Heritage: Since 1300. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004. Print.